PETALING JAYA: The gruesome deaths of three animal on the endangered list on Christmas Eve show that Malaysia has failed to protect its wildlife, said WWF-Malaysia.
“Despite all efforts from various organisations and government bodies, yet again, we as a nation, have failed to stand up for our wildlife,” its chief executive officer Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said in a statement Thursday.
On Dec 24, a sun bear was found butchered and sold openly at a market in Kuching, while another sun bear was killed in a motorbike accident in Terengganu, and in Kelantan, a group of men was photographed skinning and disfiguring a tapir that was involved in a roadkill incident.
Condemning the exotic meat trade, Dr Dionysius urged the public to step away from consuming wild meat, especially during festive celebrations.
“This act of responsible consumption will go a long way in protecting wild species such as the sun bear,” he said.
He also emphasised the need for Malaysian drivers to be more vigilant when driving in areas that are prone to wildlife crossings.
“If we do not take drastic measures to protect our wildlife now, we may lose them to extinction in the near future,” said Dr Dionysius.
Besides sun bears and tapirs, elephants, leopards, and other endangered species were reportedly killed in highway accidents this year.
As forests become more fragmented due to infrastructure development, conservationists say one of the greatest threats to wildlife are vehicles on high-speed motorways.
Throughout the year, they have been calling on the authorities to control vehicle density and enforce speed limits on highways, and increase the number of animal crossings to reduce roadkill.